Ep. 20: Islamic Spirituality, pt 3

One of the richest traditions Islam has is its spiritual tradition, or Sufism as it is more commonly known. In this 5 part series I introduce the richness of this tradition from a bird’s eye view perspective and offer some practical tools in later episodes that I have found to be tremendously useful in all aspects of my life.


Episode Notes
2:24 overview of hadith of Gabriel, and the parts that make up the whole
3:32 overview of the differences between the body, the soul, and the self
4:12 multiple words for the self in Islamic literature
5:40 the three goals to existence as outlined in the Quran
15:00 the nafs is referred to in different names in the Quran
15:50 the 7 levels of the nafs
19:30 the focus historically is how to traverse these levels
19:50 the five subtle things
22:45 the importance of past experience
25:10 moving into the practical side of Islamic spirituality
30:00 the importance of traversing these levels as a fundamental approach to Islamic spirituality

Selected Links
Movie The Terminal
Levels of the self article

Quran Mentioned
“enter into Islam completely” 2:208
“we have not created jinn or humans except to worship” 51:56
“created you on earth and asked from us to build it (development)” 11:61
“blessed is he who has improved their nafs…” 91:9-10
“the self that calls to bad actions” 12:53
“blameworthy self” 75:2
“mutmainna nafs” 89:27
“made faith believing to you and beautidued it inside you….” 49:7

Hadith Mentioned
“be in the world like a traveler” Bukhari
“worshiping God as if you see Him” Muslim
“Companions are best generation” Bukhari
“next person to come in is a person of paradise” Ahmad

People Mentioned
Imam al-Shafi
Imam Malik

Ep. 19: Islamic Spirituality, pt2

One of the richest traditions Islam has is its spiritual tradition, or Sufism as it is more commonly known. In this 5 part series I introduce the richness of this tradition from a bird’s eye view perspective and offer some practical tools in later episodes that I have found to be tremendously useful in all aspects of my life.



Episodes Notes
2:30 quick overview of three major areas that makeup the intellectual paradigm of Islam
4:09 how we answer basic questions within an Islamic framework
7:20 Islamic spirituality is based on the Quran and Sunna, but also human experience of those before us
9:40 the example of the circle as representing orthopraxy/orthodoxy in Islam
11:20 the path to God is the radii in the circle example and represents an infinite amount of paths to God, based on orthopraxy/orthodoxy
14:00 the importance of knowing the basics of Islam
18:00 the challenge of knowing what spiritual practices to follow
19:45 identifying who/what is a human being: body-soul-self
22:10 the usage of these terms is not always consistent within Islamic literature
23:37 the self (nafs) is what makes us morally responsible
25:20 the relationship between the heart and purification
28:15 can’t have just the outside of Islam, need the heart to be rectify


Selected Links
Book of Remembrances by Imam al-Nawawi
Moral obligation – taklif


Quran Mentioned
“No coercion in religion”, 2:256
“Except the one that comes to Allah with a sound heart”, 26:89
“They ask you about the sou”, 17:85
“Do they not reflect the Quran or are there locks on their hearts”, 47:25
“Blessed is the one who purifies their self, etc.”, 91:9


Hadith Mentioned
“Joy in breaking fast”, Sahih Muslim
“Indeed in the body is a morsel of flesh, if it is set right, the body will be set right,” Both Bukhari and Muslim
Hadith of the khawarij reading the Quran and not penetrating their hearts, Sahih Muslim
“taqwa is here”, Sahih Muslim


People Mentioned
Imam Bukhari
Imam Junayd
Imam Nawawi

Ep. 18: The Power of Supplication

Supplication (dua) is one of the greatest tools we have. While Ramadan is usually a time we focus on that, this episode shares why it’s important as a daily routine.


Quran Mentioned
“Fasting has been prescribed upon you, as it was prescribed on those before you” 2:183
“Remind them of the days of God” 14:5
“If you sought to count the blessings of God you would not be able to enumerate them” 16:18

Hadith Mentioned
“Supplication is worship”, Ahmad
“Supplication is the head of worship”, al-Tirmidhi
“Whoever doesn’t ask God, He becomes upset with”, Ahmad
“Ask God and be certain in the response”, al-Tirmidhi and al-Hakim

People Mentioned
Imam Ghazali’s book on supplication
Ibn Atta’ Allah

Ep. 17: Islamic Spirituality, pt1

One of the richest traditions Islam has is its spiritual tradition, or Sufism as it is more commonly known. In this 5 part series I introduce the richness of this tradition from a bird’s eye view perspective and offer some practical tools in later episodes that I have found to be tremendously useful in all aspects of my life.



Episode Notes
3:52 the hadith of Gabriel as a framework for the Islamic sciences
8:02 this hadith explains the entirety of religion, which contains these four categories
8:41 “islam” in the hadith is about correct actions or orthopraxy
9:18 definition of the Shari‘a as a human enterprise
12:05 definition of “iman” (faith) and orthodoxy
15:34 definition of “ihsan” or spiritual excellence
16:49 signs of the Final Hour and eschatology
19:35 eschatology as part of theology within the Islamic intellectual framework
20:17 Islam’s spiritual tradition and the importance of personal experience
24:02 How the Islamic sciences developed after the Prophet’s time
25:40 the hadith of Sulayk as an example of plurality in interpreting the Quran and Hadith
37:02 the diversity of Islam’s spiritual tradition
46:13 why this series is important and what we’re not going to talk about


Selected Links
Peripatetic philosophy
Tahafut al Falasifa
Tahafut al-Tahafut
Neil DeGrasse Tyson on al-Ghazali
School of M’arifa


Quran Mentioned
“Our minds cannot comprehend God”, 6:103
“Nothing is like Him”, 42:11
“People that belief in the unseen”, 2:3


Hadith Mentioned
The Prophet was given eloquence of speech, Muslim
“No harm and reciprocal harm”, Muwatta’ of Imam Malik
Gabriel hadith, Muslim
“Destiny is whatever hits you was meant to hit you”, Ahmad and Abu Dawud
People wearing musical instruments on their ears, Nisa’i


People Mentioned
Sayyida Nafisa
Imam Shafi
Ibn Arabi
Ibn Sina
Ibn Rushd
Mulla Sadra

Ep. 16: The First Friday in Ramadan 1439/2018

Welcoming the month of openings, the month of victory, and the month pf purification. Some high-level thoughts to help us gain more from the blessed month of Ramadan.



Quran Mentioned
Chapter of Victory (Fath): Chapter 48
“Fasting prescribed to have taqwa”, 2:183
“If My servant asks about Me, indeed I am near”, 2:186


Hadith Mentioned
“Doors of heaven are opened, doors of hell fire closed”, Bukhari and Muslim
“Allah was and nothing with Him”, Bukhari
Eve of first day of Ramadan and eve of Eid day are days of forgivness, Bayhaqi
“The Prophet was the most generous of people”, Bukhari
“Die before your actual death”, this is not an established hadith, but rather a statement of the Sufis.
“Person only gets hunger and thirst from their fast”, al-Tirmidhi

Ep. 15: Prophetic Models of Coexistences, Pt 5

My final discussion on the Prophetic Models of Coexistence. In this episode I discuss the various challenges the Prophet had to deal with inside Medina and outside. I also discuss some issues related to Islamic statecraft.



Episode notes

4:10 Prophet had to deal with a tense Medina situation
4:46 Introducing the Jews of Medina and the plurality of Medina
8:30 The story behind Nisa 105-108
12:30 Introducing the Hypocrites and Apostates of Medina
14:26 We judge by outward manifestation, we don’t investigate
15:30 We don’t know the true state of people and not for us to know
16:17 The story of Malik Bin Dinar
19:40 Introducing the Apostates of Medina
27:00 Dealing with challenges outside Medina
30:00 The treaty of Hudaybiya
35:00 Conquest of Mecca
39:16 The tribes of Arabia coming to Islam, international peace accords
42:00 no dictated way an Islamic state is supposed to follow.
43:50 Christian delegation from Yemen
46:50 The Prophet’s attitude towards war
56:17 plurality and coexistence is an intentionality in creation

Quran mentioned
Story of Jews who were framed, 4:105-108
“Whoever will let them believe, whoever doesn’t, do not force them”, 18:29
“There is no compulsion in religion”, 2:256
“Do not say to those who come to you and say peace you are not a believer”, 4:94
“He caused you to dwell on earth and asked us to develop earth”, 11:61
“He created you into nations and tribes to know one another”, 49:13
“Fight so there is no more tribulation and religion is for God”, 8:39

Hadith Mentioned
“maybe he prays”, Bukhari
“Quran will not penetrate their heart”, Bukhari
“today is the day of mercy”, Bukhari

People Mentioned
Malik Bin Dinar
S’ad Bin ‘Ubada

Ep 14: The 15th of Sha’ban and the Change of the Qibla

The 15th of Ramadan is also the date we commemorate the change of the qibla from Jerusalem to Mecca. There are a lot of lessons we can learn from this story. I discuss a few in this short clip.




Quran Mentioned

“We see you turning your face towards the heavens” 2:144
“Ask Allah or ask the Rahman”, 17:110
“Praise be the One who took His servant…” 17:1
“Allah has purchased from us our souls”, 9:111
“If someone comes with false information, verify” 49:6
“Remind, because reminders benefit the believers” 51:55
“If My servant asks about Me, indeed I am near” 2:186


Hadith Mentioned

“Should I not be a grateful servant”, Bukhari and Muslim
“None of us will enter paradise with our actions”, Bukhari
“I am the Prophet, no lie. I am the son of Abdullah”, Bukhari
story of the qibla change, Bukhari
“does the believer lie?” Muwatta’ of Imam Malik
“approach hadd punishments with doubt”, Tirmidhi
“It is enough to be called a liar that you repeat everything you hear”, Muslim



Ep 13, Prophetic Models of Coexistence, pt4

This episode talks about the Constitution of Madina and the formation of a plural state under the leadership of the Prophet.




Episode Notes
2:45 – beginning of the migration to Madina
3:48 – building of the first mosque
6:00 – the plurality of Madina
7:08 – the brotherhood program of Madina
10:45 – the constitution of Madina
11:17 – defining boundaries of the new state
11:58 – Quraysh as enemies of the state
13:08 – freedom of religion
13:46 – common source of legislation
15:15 – freedom of movement
16:08 – the Magna Carta
17:25 – concept of citizenship
19:30 – importance of the rule of law and accessibility of law
22:21 – importance of the sanctity of life
25:17 – freedom of religious belief
27:36 – civic action
28:40 – freedom of movement
33:29 – dealing with the hypocrites

Selected Links
Prophet’s Mosque
Muhajirun (Early Meccan Muslims)
Aws & Khazraj
Jews of Madina
Constitution of Madina
Magna Carta
Final Hajj Sermon
Nuremberg tribe
Hypocrites of Madina

Quran mentioned

“We have honored human beings”, 17:70
“Am I not your Lord?”, 7:172
“there is no compulsion in matters of religion”, 2:256

Hadith mentioned
“Even if Fatima the daughter of Muhammad were to steal, etc…”, Abu Dawud
“go you are all free”, Ibn Ishaq
hadith on not killing hypocrites, Bukhari

People mentioned
Fatima al-Zahra

Ep 12: The 15th of Sh’abān

With the beginning of the month of Sh’aban we have a tremendous opportunity on the eve of the 15th to prepare for Ramadan. This is also a reminder of the importance of supplication (dua) and charity.


Selected Links
For a more detailed look into the reasons behind creation and self-purification in Islam see this blog post.
Preserved Tablet 
Battle of Hunayn

Quran mentioned
“We have not created mankind and jinn kind except to worship”, 51:56
“Blessed is the person who refines their self, and wretched is the person who doesn’t”, 91:9
“He caused you to dwell on earth and asked you to build it”, 11:61
“I am sending to this earth a vicegerent (khalīfa)”, 2:30
“If my servant asks about Me, indeed I am near”, 2:186
“We are closer to him than his own jugular”, 50:16

Hadith mentioned
“I was only sent to perfect human character”, Ahmad
“whoever doesn’t ask Allah, He is upset”, Ahmad
“Ask Allah and you are certain of the response”, Ahmad
“Allah was and nothing was with Him”, Bukhari
Shafi dua of 15th of shaban accepted dua, Imam al-Shafi in his Um.
“Prophet was most generous and more generous in Ramadan”, Bukhari
“cure your sick with charity”, al-Bayhaqi

People mentioned
Ibn ‘Arabi
Abu Sufyan